Environmental damage can prove to be disastrous and the province is taking a step to ensuring that communities have the necessary equipment to deal with those emergencies.
Through a program created by the Alberta Environment Support and Emergency Response Team (ASERT), Ponoka has been one of the six chosen communities in the province to receive a spill response equipment trailer.
The trailer was delivered to the Ponoka Fire Hall on Sept. 26 and Garth Imeson, emergency response officer for ASERT, says that the trailer is equipped for spills on land and water and that volunteers will be trained to use the equipment in case of an emergency situation.
“It gives them an extra tool,” said Imeson. “The fire department usually gets emergency calls first and hopefully they will be able to contain and protect until further resources arrive.”
The spill response units include 400 feet of containment boom for spills that pose a threat to Alberta’s waterways as well as many other supplies.
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins believes that the pilot program is valuable to have for Ponoka and area.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Prins. “It’s critical that we have one in central Alberta and that local members will be trained to use the equipment to contain any spills.”
Mayor of Ponoka, Larry Henkelman also believes that the spill response unit is important to have in Ponoka because of the water that runs through Ponoka and surrounding areas.
“It is good for all of central Alberta, not only Ponoka,” said Henkelman. “There are many rivers, streams and lakes in the area and should something happen, we can respond and protect our watersheds.”
The training session will be done by spill response professionals and will include issues such as on-scene hazard assessment and setup, familiarize members with the equipment, care, storage, maintenance and equipment assessment, land and water spill response strategies and techniques and hands-on equipment deployment and use.
Ponoka Fire chief Ted Dillon looks forward to the training session and feels that the program will benefit the members of the community and the surrounding area.
“It’s excellent,” said Dillon. “It’s wonderful that ASERT is supplying us with training and supplies and it’s another tool for us to use to keep the community as safe as possible.”